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Highlights of Bhutan and Nepal


17 days 16 nights

Code BN107

Category Bhutan Classic Tours

  • Group Size 3-10 Person
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Rating Popular
  • Highest Altitude 12,550 ft (3800m)
  • Trip Starts From Paro
  • Trip Ends At Kathmandu
  • Accommodation Hotels
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Thimphu Phobjikha Trongsa Jakar (Bumthang) Ura Punakha Paro Takstang Kathmandu Chitwan Pokhara
Dates & Prices

Overview

In this trip, we visit the major attractions of Bhutan and Nepal- two small countries situated at the lap of mighty Himalayas, far away in South Asia. The trip takes you through the beautiful landscape and nature you will witness the superb arts and architecture, take the opportunity to join the local events and festival and meet the locals. While you can visit the two countries throughout the year but Spring (March, April and May) and the fall ( September, October and November) are the best time of the year when you have pleasant weather, views of snow-capped mountains of the Himalaya and lush valleys. During spring, the forests are beautiful with rhododendron and orchid blossoms.

This is basically a motor vehicle based tour with some short day hikes and mild adventures such as jungle safari excursion and boating trips. All of the walks and hikes can be done at our own pace. We share the trails that local use, stop in the paddy fields and chat with the farmers, poke into the farmhouses to learn their lifestyle, visit the neighboring shrines and interact with the monks. We try the local cuisines, visit the weaving and craft workshops and browse through the vibrant market and bazaars.

You need to first fly to Bangkok or Delhi or Kathmandu and plan to stay there one night and then next day you can fly into Bhutan. The trip does not include any airfare. You can buy your international airfare to the gateway city on your own and return from Kathmandu. We will help to book the internal airfare (Bangkok-Paro-Kathmandu and the fare is estimated about $900, including one domestic flight within Nepal.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Flight from Bangkok to Paro, Bhutan

Upon arrival at Paro airport (Altitude: 7,380 ft.) you are met by your Bhutanese guide and then transferred to Thimphu (41 miles, 1 hr.). En route, stop to visit Tamchog Lakhang Temple-built by the famous Iron Bridge Builder- Thangtong Gyalpo. After wash and change in the hotel, take familiarization tour of Thimphu- the capital city of Bhutan.

Migmar Hotel or Peaceful Resort or similar.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 02~Explore Thimphu (Altitude 7, 710 ft.)

Sightseeing of Thimphu includes King’s Memorial Chorten, Zhilukha Nunnery, Textile Museum, School of Arts and Crafts, the traditional handmade paper factory, National Library, the Heritage Museum, Tasicho Dzong etc. We will also attend the vibrant week-end market where farmers come to sell their fresh produce and we will take chance to attend the archery match if it's at progress. In option to local sightseeing, we can also take 3 hours hike to Cheri Gompa in the outskirts of Thimphu. We will sip tea and chat with the monks in the monastery.

Migmar Hotel or Peaceful Resort or similar.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 03~Phobjika (Altitude 9840 ft., distance 85 miles, 5 hrs.)

Following breakfast, we leave Thimphu by car for the isolated Valley of Phobjika. Stop at Dhocula pass (10, 004 ft.) to enjoy the views of snowcapped mountains and the valley panorama. We also visit Wangdue Phodrang Dzong Fortress- the second capital of Bhutan situated on the contour of a hillock at the confluence of two rivers and also take a brief hike to the picturesque Rinchengang Village.

At Phobjika Valley, visit the Gangtey Monastery and the Sarus Crane Preservation Center.

Dewachen Hotel or Gakiling Guest House.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~Across the Black Mountain to Trongsa ( Altitude 7, 656 ft., distance 75 miles, 4.5 hrs.)

Retrace drive to the main highway, cross the Black Mountain Range that separates the Western Bhutan with the rest of the country, enjoy the spectacular views of the mountains from Pela La pass (11,217 ft.) and stop briefly at Chendebji Chorten. After wash and change in the hotel, explore the Trongsa Dzong Fortress-the ancestral home of Bhutan's Royalty.

Yangkhil Resort.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05~To Jakar (Bumthang Valley) (Altitude 9,184 ft., distance 43 miles, 2 ½ hrs.)

We visit the Trongsa Dzong- the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family before heading to Bumthang. We cross Youtongla pass (3425m/11,234 ft.) and stop at the roadside village of Zugney to see the traditional Bhutanese weaving of Yathra- deep colored wool textile. At Bumthang, we visit Jambay Lakhang, Chakar temple, Kurjey Monastery complex, Tamshing Lhakang and Kunchoksum temple.

Mountain Lodge or Mipham Guesthouse.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06~Ura Valley Excursion (Round trip 100km/63 miles, 2 hours each way)

Today, we take an excursion to Ura Valley and visit its medieval looking village and its temple. In the afternoon, we will also visit the any remaining sights of Bumthang that we couldn’t cover the previous day.

Mountain Lodge or Mipham Guesthouse.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~Backtrack to Punakha (Altitude 4,162 ft, distance 133 miles, 6.5 hrs.)

It's a long day drive back to Pungakha via Trongsa and Pelela pass to Punakha- the former winter capital of Bhutan. After wash and change, we visit the impressive Punakha Dzong fortress. Time permitting, visit the deprived woman's handicraft training center.

Punatsangchu Resort or Meri Puensum Resort.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 08~Back to Paro (89 miles, 4 hrs.)

Hiking enthusiasts may take 1 hour pleasant hike to Khamsum Yuelley Temple- the latest addition to Bhutan’s countless temples but has the finest of the spiritual artworks painted on the inner walls. Enjoy the panoramic views of the valley from the hill top and backtrack to the car Punakha Dzong and continue drive to Paro via Dhochula Pass. After wash and change, visit the National Museum and the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong.

Tashi Namgay Resort or similar.

Day 09~Hike Takstang Monastery

Takstang Monastery is probably the climax of Bhutan trip. The monastery precariously perched on the edge of a 4000 ft. high cliff above the valley floor, creates an impressive sight, and is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan. It is about 2.5 hrs., totally up-hill hike from the parking lot to the monastery, though there is a cafe located on ridge across from the Taktsang that provides a welcome opportunity to take a rest and purchase refreshments and snacks. We can make up to this point on pony (with prior request) but for the rest of the hike (45 minutes) and return trip down, we need to be on our own limbs!

We descend back to the parking and drive to the historic Drukgyel Dzong which was built in the 16th century to mark the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetan invaders.

We will also stop in a typical Bhutanese Farm House. Bhutanese Farm Houses are very colorful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail!

Travelers who are not keen on hiking will be offered trip to the remote and lesser known Haa Valley which was closed for tourists until recently. We tour the village, ancient temples and pristine areas of Haa Valley. We will enjoy the spectacular views of the snowcapped mountains from Chele-la pass (3810m, 12497 ft.).

Tashi Namgay Resort.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10~Flight to Kathmandu, Nepal

Today, we have 50 minutes long scenic flight to Kathmandu- the capital city of Nepal. Afternoon, we visit the 2000 year old Swayambhunath Stupa, former Royal Palace and medieval temples in Kathmandu Durbar Square, walk through the traditional business hubs of Indrawchok and Assan and in the evening, enjoy Nepali welcome dinner amidst cultural dancing program.

Shanker Hotel or Kantipur Temple House.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11~Explore temples, monasteries and palaces of Kathmandu Valley.

Today, we visit Pashupatinath temple- the holiest Hindu Temple of Nepal, Boudhanath Stupa- the tallest Buddhist stupa architecture in the world and visit the medieval principality of Bhaktapur.

Shanker Hotel or Kantipur Temple House.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 12~Drive to Chitwan National Park (160km/100 miles, 4-5 hrs.)

We follow the course of Trishuli River to the southern lowland of Nepal. Rafting enthusiasts, with prior arrangement can experience 2-3 hours rafting in Trishuli River (Grade 3+). We will also have an opportunity to take cable car trip to visit the famous Manakamana Temple. Time permitting, today we visit the village of Tharu tribal people and learn their life styles which remains unchanged over hundreds of years.

Rhino Residency Resort or Safari Adventure Lodge.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13~Jungle Safari Rides in Chitwan National Park

We embark on various jungle safari activities such as canoe trip, elephant back safari, jungle treks, bird watching etc. Most commonly spotted animals are Great One Horned Rhinoceros, spotted deer, Sambar, 2 species of monkeys, wild boar etc. The park is also home to more than 100 Royal Bengal Tiger but they are being nocturnal, chances of seeing them are very slim.

Rhino Residency Resort or Safari Adventure Lodge.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14~Drive from Chitwan to Pokhara(140km/88 miles, 4 hrs.)

Pokhara lies in the lap of beautiful Annapurna and Mount Fishtail and has lakes, gorge, caves and several short hiking destinations to offer to the visitors. Today, we take boating trip in Fewa Lake and visit the island temple of Goddess Barahi.

Fishtail Lodge or Shangrila Village Hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 15~Sarangkot excursion (1,592 m/5222 ft., 5 km (3 miles) and explore Pokhara

Sarangkot offers spectacular sunrise view and Himalayan Panorama. On the return, we have option of taking 2 hrs. trek down which is all downhill or we can drive back and stop in the temple of Bindhebasini and old Bazaar. In the afternoon, we explore the mysterious cave Temple of Gupteshwara Mahadev, Davis Fall, Tibetan Village, Seti Gprge etc.

Fishtail Lodge or Shangrila Village Hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 16~Flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu (35 minutes)

The flight offers spectacular views of snowcapped mountains and the valleys. This afternoon, we will have free time to pursue our own interest.

Shanker Hotel or Kantipur Temple House.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 17~Departure

We are transferred to the airport for our flight back home.

Note: If the preferred hotels listed in the itinerary are not available at the time of booking, we will provide you similar hotels.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Cost Includes

  • Accommodation on twin sharing in the listed hotels or similar.
  • 3 meals a day in Bhutan.
  • Daily breakfast in Kathmandu and Pokhara and Chitwan National Park full board.
  • All ground transportation.
  • Sightseeing admission fees.
  • Service of internal airfare reservation ( Internal airfare is quoted separately)
  • Bhutan visa fee.
  • Bangkok and Paro airport taxes.
  • Service of English speaking local guides.

Cost Does Not Include

  • Meals other than listed.
  • International and internal airfare ( Estimated airfare Bangkok-Paro-Kathmandu and one domestic flight within Nepal total $ 900) 
  • Nepal visa fee. (Nepal visa can be purchased upon arrival in Kathmandu airport).
  • Expenses of personal nature such as drinks, tip, phone, laundry etc.
  • Extra expenses or loss due to nature of unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, inclement weather, illness, accident, civil unrest etc.

Trip Difficulty Level, Road and Transport.

The trip basically involves motor-vehicle based sightseeing and some optional hikes which is suitable for travelers with regular health conditions. We don't go any significant altitude on this trip. The highest altitude that we attain in this trip is at Chele-la pass (3810m/12, 497 ft.) on the way to Haa valley, where we have a brief stop and rest of the places, we are in lower elevation and so we don’t have any risk of altitude sickness in this trip. Sightseeing involves some short hiking through the villages, terraced fields or forests. Temples and monasteries are often in higher places than the average ground level and may require climbing stairs. When we travel from one city to another, its usually 3-6 hours' drive, with occasional stop for photography or refreshment. Roads are often cut into hills and follow rivers and some parts may be under paved or damaged. There can be landslides, blocking the roads temporarily when it rains heavily. Please, do not compare the South Asian roads with the ones in developed countries.

We provide good condition vehicles which are mid-size sedan car or SUVs or vans, depending on the group size. Drivers may speak little or no English. Chances of getting flat tires and mechanical breakdowns cannot be declined due to weather and road conditions but our drivers are capable of taking the situation under control. We just need your cooperation and flexibility, when something unexpected happens during the tour.

Accommodations.

In Bhutan, unless we have chosen other alternatives, we will be staying in moderate to the best available accommodations which are in general small hotel with 20-30 rooms with private bathroom with running hot and cold water. We do not expect our hotel to have a big lobby or souvenir shops. Nowadays, there are some upmarket international chain resorts such as Como Hotels, Aman Resorts, Taj etc. which we can book for you on additional cost. The hotels listed in the itinerary are suggestions only and final list of hotels will be provided with final trip dossier. Comparing to Bhutan, we have more choices of hotels in Nepal and we will be using first class to deluxe category hotels with all modern comforts.

Meals.

The trip features 3 meals a day in Bhutan. We expect to eat most meals at our hotel and some meals also can be arranged in local restaurants outside, at the selection of our guide. In Bhutan, meals are usually served in buffet that includes rice, vegetables, noodles, breads etc. Beware: traditional Bhutanese food always features chilies and the most popular dish is ema datshi made with large, green hot chilies in a cheese sauce. During your trip in Nepal, we have one welcome dinner in Kathmandu and 3 meals a day in Chitwan National Park. Rest of the days, you will have daily breakfast only. You can expect to spend $10-12 per meal in regular tourist standard restaurant.

Guides

Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted local guides for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Our guides are university graduates, fluent in English, trained and licensed by Tourism authorities. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of our trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. They show us the wonders of the areas we’d otherwise never find on our own and make sure everything goes smoothly and safely without a hitch. More than just guides, they positively elevate our experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. Guides in Bhutan and Nepal will be different person.

International and internal airfares

You will book your international airfare to and return from Bangkok and we will take care of the rest of the flights. You can also start and end your trip in Kathmandu. We can also help you find good fares through our air ticket consolidator on your request. We will take care of internal airfares-flight from Bangkok into Paro or on the return from Kathmandu back to Bangkok. All internal airfares are booked locally. Local airport taxes may or may not be included in the fare.

Passport and Visa

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months more at the time of travel and there should be enough blank pages for entry and exit seals. Bhutan visa is pre-processed by us and we will get clearance for you before your flight into Bhutan. Your passport gets actual visa seal upon arrival at Paro airport. You can obtain Nepal visa upon arrival at Kathmandu airport or from nearest Nepali embassy beforehand. We will take care of all other permits necessary for this trip.

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